Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What Is "Active Spirituality"?

While there is no religious or spiritual tradition called “active spirituality,” it’s not difficult to grasp what this term means. The word “active” is the key. Active spirituality means finding your spiritual connection through motion or movement.

One way to understand this term is to look at its opposite. “Passive spirituality” involves spiritual practices that involve little or no movement. Such practices as prayer, meditation and contemplation are usually done while sitting still. The idea here is that outer stillness leads to inner peace. “Passive spirituality” is a good description of the vast majority of traditional spiritual practices.

For many of us, we need to be in motion to find our spiritual connection and to feed our souls. Active souls are persons for whom traditional spiritual disciplines like contemplation, meditation and prayer need to happen while in motion. These are persons who find it difficult, if not impossible, to sit still for minutes (let alone for hours) to pray. They connect with the Holy and Sacred dimension of life while walking, running, hiking, biking, dancing, driving, skiing, sailing, fly fishing cooking, gardening or rowing. Motion and movement nourishes their souls. I know this type of person well because I am one of them.

Because the field of spirituality is overwhelmingly tilted toward practices that involve being still and outwardly inactive, active souls can easily feel left out or, worse, marginalized. The inability to sit passively while meditating, contemplating or praying, can lead to the feeling that we are outsiders to the spiritual life.

This blog will focus on active spiritual practices that are already part of our daily lives. Stay tuned...

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